Hereditary Ataxia

Brain and Spinal Cord

Hereditary Ataxia is a progressively worsening disease leading to incoordination, exaggerated movements, and falling. Eventually, affected dogs will be unable to stand or walk without assistance.

  • Signs and symptoms

    Clinical signs include a lack of coordination, exaggerated movements, falling, and an inability to stand or walk without support. Tremors have also been reported.

    Signs typically develop before two years of age.

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  • Diagnosis

    Diagnosis includes genetic testing, a complete physical and neurological exam, and advanced imaging such as an MRI.

  • Treatment

    This condition cannot be treated and affected dogs often have a poor quality of life by four years of age.

  • What to do if your dog is at risk


    • Monitor affected dogs' quality of life and keep them comfortable on soft and non-slip surfaces.
    • Slings can be used to help support dogs that are unable to stand or walk on their own.

  • Genetic Information

    This variant was first described in the Australian Shepherd.

    This variant is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner, meaning a dog requires two copies of the variant to show signs of Hereditary Ataxia.

    Gene names:

    PNPLA8 Exon 3 ‐ chr

    Inheritance type:


  • Breeds affected

    This health condition affects the following breeds

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